recent Events and Reunions
Australian Oxford Medical Alumni, Third Biennial Meeting, Margaret River, Western Australia, March 2016
After successful meetings in Cradle Mountain in northern Tasmania in 2012 and in Adelaide in 2014, the third Australian OMA meeting took place between the 11th and 13th March in the picturesque wine-growing region of Margaret River in the south-west of the state of Western Australia. Forty people (26 delegates, three Oxford medical students who were doing electives in Australia at the time, and 11 accompanying guests) participated. The opening talk was given by David Durack who charted the history of the Royal Flying Doctor Service in regional Australia, including personal anecdotes from his early years in the north-west of the country. Subsequent speakers covered topics as diverse as personal experiences with idiosyncratic drug side-effects, surgical treatment of orphan cancers, delivery of ophthalmological services to remote indigenous communities, sexuality after risk reducing salpingo-oophorectomy, and a review of urinalysis in medical practice over the ages. An update on Oxford medical education and the NHS from a junior doctor’s perspective was provided by undergraduates Harry Beale, David Gleeson and Louis Pirkis. Lawrie Beilin wrapped up the meeting with anthropological reflections on medical research in the 21st Century.
Social highlights were wine-tasting at Voyager Estate on the 11th March and a dinner at the Xanadu winery on the night of the 12th March. Mike Peterkin, the invited speaker at the dinner and one of the founders of the Margaret River wine industry, gave a personal perspective on the development of vineyards in the region from the 1960s. Also at the dinner, Roger Bodley, a driving force behind the Australian OMA meetings and who ran the first in Cradle Mountain, was presented with a bicycle helmet after questioning whether helmets should be mandatory earlier in the day. Wendy Davis was thanked for her tireless organisational efforts, and Phil and Sarah Crowe were announced as the organisers of the next Australian OMA meeting in 2018 to be held in New South Wales.
The meeting was a great success, not least because it brought together a diverse range of people with Oxford medical connections in a convivial and intellectually stimulating atmosphere. I would urge all Australians with an Oxford affiliation to support the next OMA meeting in two years’ time.
Tim Davis, Convenor (1978)